In the aftermath of an armed conflict in Africa the international community both produce and demands from local partners a variety of blueprints on how to reconstruct state and society. The aim is to re-formalize the state after what is viewed as a, brief or extended, period of fragmentation and informalization caused by armed conflict. In reality, both African economies and politics are very much informal in character, with informal actors (including so-called ’Big Men’) often using their positions in the formal structure as a means to reach informal goals. Through a variety of in-depth case studies – from DRC to Somali to Liberia amongst others – this book shows how important informal political and economic networks are in many of the continent’s conflict areas. More than this, it demonstrated that without a proper understanding of their impacts in areas such as borderlands and in ’narco-states’ such as Guinne-Bissau, attempts to ’formalise’ African states, particularly those emerging from wars, will be in vain.